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Showing posts from 2013

You know you've been talking about work too much when....

The accountant had just read the story of Cinderella to his four-year-old daughter for the first time.

The little girl was fascinated by the story, especially the part where the pumpkin turns into a golden coach.

Suddenly she piped up, "Daddy, when the pumpkin turned into a coach, would that be classed as income or a capital gain?"

Stranger than Fiction

This one's not a joke but it still qualifies for inclusion on this blog: - A film about a tax auditor starring Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. It is called Stranger than fiction!

In the film Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a tax auditor who lives an excruciatingly well-planned life. He wakes one day to hear a woman's voice narrating his life and, in one disturbing scene, predicting his death. Crick sets out to find out whether he's mad but ends up on a trail that leads him to writer Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) - who, as chance would have it, is writing a book in narrative style about the life of Harold Crick, a tax auditor who lives an excruciatingly well-planned life. With his life in her hands, so to speak, their relationship takes a peculiar twist when Harold learns Eiffel's novel is not to have a happy ending.

In an earlier post I listed a number of other films that featured accountants as main characters. Have a guess as to how many are on the lis…

Tax is for life, not just for Christmas

I do enjoy the ramblings of tax sage Murphy Richards who blogs for the Justice For Taxes Network.
Surprisingly I have not seen fit to reference any of his pieces here before. But this extract from a recent post about an upcoming lecture seems worth sharing:
"The theme of my lecture is that, rather like a dog, people commonly associate Christmas with taxation. It is probably because Christmas is a time for giving rather than receiving. Which is something that The State loves to hear from its citizens.  But my deliberately provocative point is that we should also think about taxation the rest of the year too.  As with a dog, being responsible for taxation requires year-long care. It involves administering worming tablets, vaccinations, sticking a microchip in the neck and carrying plastic bags in your pocket at all times. It means going out in the cold for long walks in the pouring rain, sometimes shouting its name, giving up and finding it waiting on the doorstep for you wagging …

You may be an accountant if...

Your idea of trashing your hotel room is refusing to fill out the guest comment card; You refer to your child as your 'entitlement to tax credits'; You deduct Exlax as "Moving Expenses.At the movie "Indecent Proposal" you did a NPV calculation. You decide to change your name to a symbol and you choose the double underline If you have no idea that "GAP" is also a clothing store.   Any more?

You know you need a new accountant when....

Your Accountant begins the initial interview with "When I was in prison..."

After completing your tax return showing a balance due of £3,000, your Accountant asks for it in cash.

You see Your Accountant on TV. On Crimewatch

Your Accountant thinks "amortizstion" is Italian for "making love".

Every time you visit Your Accountant in his office, he's smoking a joint.

Your Accountant tells you "You probably won't go to jail for this, but..."

Your Accountant is also a Lawyer, and he's representing your wife in the divorce proceedings.

Your Accountant tells you he hasn't filed his own tax return in years

Your Accountant seems to have a cold all year long....and powder residue on his desk

Your Accountant insists that children are legal tender

Why famous people didn't want to be accountants

Three related quotes I came across recently:

The first is attributed to Sir Trevor Holdsworth, then Chairman of National Power and a former chairman of GKN plc. Apparently, when he was younger he had hopes of being a musician but bowed to his parents' wishes and became an accountant.
"To be an accountant is a choice of the head, not the be an accountant is a second choice. It lacks the vocational flavour of the doctor or the cleric, the romance of the armed services...and the born instinct and natural ability of the artist and musician." Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, worked for a short time in Accountancy. In July 1989 the Mail On Sunday reported him as describing this period of his life as:
"The closest to Hell I've ever been" And Godfrey Bradman, then Chairman and Joint Chief Executive of Rosehaugh plc was reported to have said to the Independent newspaper on 30 October 1989 that:
"I wake up every morning and thank God th…

An Accountant's Lament

When you’re a child of say four or five, Longing to grow up and be really alive, You think about what you might do with your life – “I’ll be a teacher” – “A fireman” – “A wife” –
“I’ll be a doctor” – “And I’ll be a nurse” – “I’ll be a bad man” – “And I’ll be much worse”. But tell me, has anyone heard a child say, “I want to be an accountant one day”?
To sit in an office and struggle with numbers, To be on the end of a client’s endless grumbles, They simply don’t see why they MUST pay that VAT – “My mate down the pub says he doesn’t pay that!”
Ticking and bashing through audits and recs, Removing the claim for a client’s new specs, Scrolling through spreadsheets till you’re fit to scream - A set of correct books?That’s just in a dream!
To have to keep patience with HMRC When they bring in new rules that then change endlessly, When they don’t answer letters and as for the phone – “Forget it accountants, no, you’re on your own!”
Still, mustn’t complain, I could do a lot worse (Like trying to write more…

How do you pay your tax?

At the end of a serious tax investigation, the Inspector of Taxes announced that the taxpayer owed over £10,000.  The Inspector continued: "You know, paying tax is your civic duty and you should be proud to do what's right. I'd like to see you settle your liability with a smile."

To which the recalcitrant taxpayer replied: "Thank God. I thought you'd want money."

Thanks to Mike Thexton for what he describes as this old crusty mild joke.

Angry Accountants website

This popped up on my radar the other day -

Start counting old coins and jewellery; become a Professional Metal DetectorFormer Accountant Finds Success in Quilting -- opens "Home Is Where the Heart Is Quilt & Gift Shop"Former Accountant Turns Business Into Piece of Cake -- starts "Truly Scrumptious" specialty cake shopFormer Accountant -- Turned Gun-Carrying Special Agent/Criminal Investigator for the IRS -- turned Private Eye
There's also a useful post about moving from a big 4 firm to a smaller one. That is: Going from being a small fish in a big pond to somewhere you can become a big fish in a small pond. There are some sensible tips and a warning:
""But before you jump ponds, …

Imagining famous films with an accountancy theme

10 things I hate to accrue (starring Heath “Nominal” Ledger)Schindler’s Listing – A heartbreaking story about Schindler floating his company on the FTSE. Dude! Where’s my FAR? – A comedy about two guys who misplace their Fixed Asset Register. The Shawshank Exemption – a film about a wrongly convicted banker who helps guards avoid an audit [Bit ironic if you know what it was really about!]LIFO Pi - An abstract story about an unaccepted accounting estimate stranded on a boat with a tiger. InSSAPtion – A sci-fi blockbuster hit about the implantation of statements of standard accounting practices into one’s subconscious.Star Wars: Annual Return of the Jedi – Luke Skywalker battles against an evil empire when he discovers they aren’t filing their annual returns with companies house on time.Accrual intentions – Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a wealthy teenager taking Reese Witherspoon, a naïve student, under her wing to teach her the accruals concept. Home A-Loan – an incredibly boring film…

What clients say and what they mean (1)

"We keep excellent records" = our books are a mess but don't you dare say otherwise, also I would like a discount please.

"I'm looking for a flexible accountant" = I will ring you evenings and weekends and expect an immediate answer. I may even call on Boxing Day. Late.

"My last accountant didn't file the accounts on time and we got fined" =  I don't expect this to happen with you, though I will ignore repeated reminders and only give you the records one week before year end.

"My last accountant was an idiot" = I'm an idiot.

"I'd like to negotiate on your fees" = Although I want to squeeze more out of you, I've watched the Apprentice so I know how to negotiate. Lower the fees but not the service - and don't expect payment on time either.

"My wife studied AAT years ago so she will be doing the bookkeeping" = Don't try it on with me matey boy, I have an expert in the camp, and get ready t…

Using cats as an analogy - which is most realistic?

Four men were bragging about how smart their cats were.

The first man was an Engineer, the second was an Accountant, the third
was a Chemist and the fourth man was a Civil servant.

To show off, the Engineer called his cat, "T-square, do your stuff."

T-square pranced over to the desk, took out some paper and pen and promptly drew a circle, a square, and a triangle. Everyone agreed that was pretty smart.

But the Accountant said his cat could do better.

He called his cat and said, "Spreadsheet, do your stuff."

Spreadsheet went out to the kitchen and returned with a dozen biscuits. He divided them into 4 equal piles of 3 biscuits. Everyone agreed that was good.

But the Chemist said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said "Measure, do your stuff."

Measure got up, walked to the fridge, took out a litre of milk, got a glass from the cupboard and poured exactly 80 millilitres without spilling a drop into the glass.

Everyone agreed that was pretty good…

Spare a thought for your accountant

Spare a thought for your accountant He’s trying to do his best To earn a decent living Just like all the rest
Doing all that double entry’s Not as easy as it looks It takes years and years of practice To cook a set of books
But when the debits and the credits Don’t add up quite as they should Staring at the door or window Doesn’t do a lot of good
It’s said two things are sure in life Death and taxes are the pair But one more fact is certain Your accountant’s thinning hair!
The tax rules alter constantly He struggles to keep pace Tax, NI and VAT Etch deep lines in his face
And even when the job is done The client may not pay So your accountant’ll keep a’counting

Until retirement day
Written by chartered accountant David Marston in 1998 and passed on to me recently when it turned up out of the blue.

Accountants are not just bean counters, or pea counters. And we can spell!

This was on the Telegraph's website this week:

At least they only omitted a 'C' in their spelling of Accountant in the headline. I once omitted the 'O'. And why have they used a picture of green garden peas rather than beans?

Professional skepticism

In June 2007 the Zootopia Theatre Company presented the New York premiere of Professional Skepticism by James Rasheed.

The following description is from the show's press release: "The play centers on four auditors at a Big Five CPA firm in Charleston, South Carolina, and their daily struggle to survive while swimming with sharks. An audit scandal threatens to change these characters into headline-making personalities."

Written before scandals enveloped Enron, Worldcom and Arthur Anderson, the play has apparently assumed new stature in light of these events. Critics applauded the play's sharp, funny dialogue and how it presents quantitative issues with such clarity that even mathematically-challenged audience members can feel as smart as the sharpest pinstripe CPA.

If you want to know more - here's a full review of Professional Skepticism.

The Audit Wheel of Fortune

With all due credit to Liam Higgins Saunders (who is 'Colin') at Accountancy Age's Taking Stock where this cartoon originally appeared.

An #INABAaward goes to Super Accountant Annette Ferguson

I first encountered Annette on twitter. I checked out her website, read some of her blog posts, listened to her podcasts and watched some of her videos. Even before speaking with her I was pretty certain that she deserved this (virtual) award of an INABA.

INABA stands for 'I'm Not ABoring Accountant' - more on the awards here +++++;

Annette is another stand out accountant who evidently operates in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'.

Annette's practice, Super Accountant, is focused on entrepreneurs and new business owners 'who want to be super successful'. She does very little of the day to day bookkeeping or accounting for her clients. This compliance work is instead undertaken by her staff. Annette's focus is much more on being the main client interface and helping them understand the numbers and how to grow their businesses.

Annette's podcasts and videos are as much for her existing clients as for new ones. Existing c…

The Song of a Lovesick Accountant

How account your loss of interest?
How to analyse your manner strange?
Tell me truly of my errors:
Narrate the reasons for this change. Your company and loving presence
I value over all else on earth.
If some goodwill can now be shown
I venture we’ll see love’s rebirth. Reconciliation swift I now am seeking:
This current impasse leaves me tense.
Do not discount my urgent pleading:
Do not keep me in suspense.

- Dennis Flynn

Over promoted?

A tax manager was driving up the motorway on his way to see a client when his senior partner phoned him and told him that he'd been promoted to senior manager. The tax manager was so shocked he swerved the car.

A few minutes later the senior partner phoned the tax manager again to say he'd been promoted even higher and would be made a tax director. The manager swerved the car again. Then the senior partner told the manager that he was actually being promoted straight to partner. The manager was so shocked he drove off the road and went right into a tree.

The police came and asked him what had happened. He said "I careered off the road"

Stamp Duty and playing cards

So there I was looking to research a new talk that involves a reference to playing cards, when I found the following. Why didn't anyone ever tell me this before?

When you look at the central image of a spade on the Ace of Spades why is it often more ornate than that on the other aces?
Apparently this all began in the 17th century under the reign of King James. He passed a law requiring the Ace of Spades to bear an insignia of the printing house as proof of payment of a tax on the local manufacture of cards. This ornamental embossing was also intended to prevent forgery of the revenue stamp. To forge an ace of spades was punishable by hanging, hence it is sometimes still known as the ‘hanging card’.  Stamp duty was extended to playing cards in 1711 by Queen Anne and lasted until 1960. All decks of playing cards printed and sold in the United Kingdom were liable to tax under the Stamp Act 1765, and the Ace of Spades carried an indication of the name of the printer and the fact that…

"We are weary and unexciting accountants"

I have promised not to disclose who said this but it was a senior partner at a top 50 accountancy firm: "We at [redacted] are lone folk, ploughing our furrow in a very weary and unexciting way and not that interested in sharing our boring views with those who have a more exciting life leading their businesses through a series of strategies designed to grow the business in a way which seems to us to be not the sort of way we wish to run ours." To be fair this was in a 'Friday afternoon' email ;-)

EY's branding advisers may not have messed up

From the London Evening Standard:
Bean counters and crotch kids Sack the branding advisers! Accountancy giant Ernst and Young has given itself a new name meant — according to new chief executive Mark Weinberger — to “demonstrate clearly and boldly who we are”. Alas, the chosen moniker, EY, already has an owner: a magazine packed with shirtless, trouser-less and often pant-less young men, licking lollies and clutching their crotches. Given that a swift Google search would have alerted the bean-counters to their new namesakes, it doesn’t inspire much faith in their ability to scrutinise company accounts. But if it’s embarrassing for Ernst and Young, consider how the owners of the magazine must feel. For what reader will want their Adonis fantasies infiltrated by images of accountants? Hmmm. I have seen previous references to the same story but this one seemed to deserve a mention on this blog. However, a quick internet search shows, in the results that Google delivers to me anyway, only…

Football and accountancy in one joke

A Sunday League football team is desperate for players. So desperate in fact that one Sunday they are forced to play a chicken. Rather surprisingly the chicken has a brilliant first half. One minute it's clearing off its own line, the next threading the perfect through ball, the next putting in a perfect cross.

At half time all its team-mates are very pleased and everyone runs back onto the pitch for the second half.

On the way the ref starts chatting with the chicken.

"Great first half mate, you must be really fit".

"Thanks", replied the chicken, "I try to keep myself fit but its difficult finding the time so I try to do an hour in the gym each morning before work".

"What do you do then?" asked the ref.

"I'm a chartered accountant" replies the chicken.

At this point the ref immediately brandishes the red card and sends the chicken off. The bemused team-mates gather round the ref and start complaining.

"Sorry lads", s…

An #INABA award for Rob Walsh of Clear Vision Accounting

At a recent AVN conference I was blown away by the passion, enthusiasm and 'clear vision' displayed by Rob Walsh when he talked about how he runs his practice: Clear Vision Accountancy in Corsham, Wiltshire.

I knew immediately that Rob deserved this (virtual) award of an INABA. He evidently operates in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'. INABA stands for 'I'm Not ABoring Accountant' - more on the awards here +++++;

In 2004 Rob decided he was bored operating as a partner in a traditional regional firm of accountants. He founded Clear Vision as a result of his desire to make a change in his life and in the accountancy profession. As he explained at the conference, "I care to make a bloody difference".

On checking the firm's YouTube channel I remembered that a friend of mine, Robert Craven, had previously enthused about the non-traditional approach operated by Rob Walsh and the team at Clear Vision. Having now met R…

The dancing accountant (2)

Long time readers may recall that back in March 2010 I included a fun item here showing the dancing accountant perform his audition for the TV show 'So you think you can dance'.

Recently the dancing accountant posted a thank you note on the blog and provided a link to his facebook page where he is described as: Accountant. Dancer. One man flash mob.

It also notes thatYou can suggest songs for him to dance to and places where he can dance to them. He'll be posting a new video on his YouTube channel each week - make a request and tune in to see if he went with your suggestion!

Here are a couple of the dancing accountant's more recent videos. In the first he 'does Kylie'. The second was recorded at the Apple Store on Regent St in London:

A start up accountant goes networking for the first time

A classic example of how NOT to approach networking

Watch out for the lack of preparation, lack of practice and lack of plan (the 3 Ps of what to do before you go networking). There's a lot more here in this cringeworthy video from 'Kids in the Hall'.

"Dullest employee pretending to be an accountant"

I laughed out loud when I saw that Bill Morrow had listed his first job on Linkedin as "Dullest employee pretending to be an accountant" at Virgin.

It seems Bill stuck with it, at Virgin, for 5 years - from 1985-1990.  In 2004 Bill launched and is now CEO of Angel's Den, Europe and Asia's largest Business Angel Investor Network.

Having heard Bill speak to groups of entrepreneurs and having spent a week with him on a group skiing holiday for a week I can confirm he is no longer dull. In fact I doubt he ever was!

“My name is…. And I am a tax adviser” – a shocking confession

The following appeared at the start of a two-page article in Taxation magazine (6 June 2013):
“My name is Sarah Saunders and I am a tax adviser. Clearly, I cannot be proud to admit this shameful fact; if I were appearing on television I would be portrayed in silhouette only and an actor would speak my words. I was innocent once, but I was lured into dabbling in tax while taking my degree. How could I have known that I was involved in something immoral? All the people I worked with seemed nice and respectable; they talked about things like “professional ethics”. I had no idea I was being inducted into a conspiracy to defraud the British People.”
Sarah then references the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee’s insinuation that tax advisers are part of “a Machiavellian evil conspiracy.” Sarah’s article concludes:

“We need to [be able to] say: “I’m a tax adviser and I’m proud”. Perhaps we should organize some marches and wear some suitably messaged T-shirts? Mind you, if anyone asks my pr…

You know what they say about advertising......

"It's always said that half of one's advertising spend is wasted, but you never know which half. The problem is that my marketing colleagues never budget for both halves!"

Attributed to Chris Hix, former head of management accounting at Lever Brothers by Russell Levinson (thanks Russell).

The next #INABAaward goes to Amy Taylor

Amy Taylor runs Taylor Accountancy in Potton, Bedfordshire.

This is another (virtual) award of an INABA to an accountant who operates in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'. INABA stands for 'I'm Not ABoring Accountant' - more on the awards here +++++; 

Amy first came to my attention on twitter where she tweets as @amyaccountant and currently describes herself as:
"The Tax Efficient Angel helping entrepreneurs save money with friendly, efficient, flexible accountancy services, wherever you are in the UK" Amy tells me that when she started her practice she focused on the Mums in Business market (Mumpreneurs) but that she finds herself being drawn to a more diverse band of entrepreneurs who choose to work from home.

I was already considering Amy for an INABA simply by reference to her tweeting style which is very different to most accountants. She tweets about the stuff going on in her professional life but rarely tweets anything o…

No sleep for the diligent

An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. 
"Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night."

"Have you tried counting sheep?"

"That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it."

The collective noun for accountants

"An audit of accountants"

"A balance of accountants"

"A sum of accountants"

"A fudge of accountants"

"An account of accountants"

A journal of accountants*

An assessment of accountants*

A return of accountants*

An avoidance of accountants (for the proactive among us!)*

* These last few were suggested by Ian Gillard, Managing Director at R D Owen & Co, Chartered Accountants

Do you have any better ideas?

Can the K-team solve your accounting problems?

"If you have a problem with accounting software, if nobody can help you sort your invoices, and if you get in touch and ask very nicely, then maybe you can hire.... The K-Team" Ok, so this spoof 'A-Team' 1 minute video is a promo for Kashflow but it's also quite funny - as are the website notes about each of the characters featured.

An accountant gets one over on a lawyer

A lawyer and an accountant are sitting next to each other on a long flight from the US back to London. The lawyer leans over to the accountant and asks if he would like to play a fun game.

The  accountant just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and rolls over to the window to take a few winks. The lawyer persists and explains that the game is really easy and a lot of fun. He explains "I ask you a question and if you don't know the answer you pay me £10".

Again the  accountant politely declines and tries to get some sleep. The lawyer, now somewhat agitated, says "OK, if you don't know the answer you pay me £10, and if you ask me a question and I don't know the answer I will pay you £100".

This catches the accountant's complete attention, and as he sees no end to this torment unless he plays,  he reluctantly agrees to the game.

The lawyer asks the first question. "What's the distance from the earth to the moon?" 
The  accounta…

The next #INABAaward goes to Elaine Clark of

This is another (virtual) award of an INABA to an accountant who operates in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'.

INABA stands for 'I'm Not ABoring Accountant' - more on the awards here++++ 

Elaine Clark is a forthright and feisty lady with firm views about many accountancy related topics. She is MD of and I'm sure no one would ever suggest that she was boring. On the contrary she has successfully built up her business and is widely recognised as a trail blazer in the use of social media within Accountancy. Rather than simply follow the herd she has a clear focus and marketing objectives.

Elaine was included on Accountancy Age's 2012 power list and has won the Woman in Finance category of the Network of Aspiring Women Awards. Elaine's articles are regularly published on a plethora of sites including Accountancy Age, Start up Donut, WiRE, Accounting Web, ICAEW and Business Zone.

I admire Elaine for the way s…

The privilege of being an accountant rather than a lawyer

At a panel debate hosted by Pinsent Masons and The Times on Monday evening I heard two mildy amusing references to accountants. The subject under discussion was Legal Advice Privilege and the recent Prudential case. This confirmed that tax accountants are not tax lawyers.

Tom Adam QC mischievously suggested that:
"as we all know, deep down tax accountants want to be lawyers. After all, we have 'Legally Blonde', 'Ali McBeal' and 'Suits'. And what do accountants have......?  Big calculators and lots of pens in their top pocket!" Also on the panel, Mike Truman, editor of Taxation magazine, later got in a retort of his own:
"The big difference between lawyers and accountants, when it comes to the provision of tax advice, is that accountants are expected to get the numbers right as well as the words!" 

A boring accountant's awkward sexual adventure

The "funniest canadian sex comedy ever made" features 'a boring accountant' from Winnipeg who sets out to learn the secrets of making love from a Toronto stripper.

Here are a couple of extracts from Jay Stone's review of 'My awkward sexual adventure':
"the accountant is far too unlikely in his halting ineptitude to be taken at all seriously."  "Jordan is hopeless until he drunkenly falls into the clutches of Julia (Emily Hampshire), a stripper and gourmet cook. Together they strike a deal: he will use his accounting skills to straighten out her messy financial affairs, and she will become his “sex Yoda,” a platonic instructor in all things explicit, nasty, forbidden and kinky."

A fairy story where the devil is in the detail

Once upon a time a shepherd was looking after his sheep on the side of a deserted road. Suddenly a brand new Porsche screeched to a halt. The driver, a man dressed in an Armani suit, Cerutti shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses, TAG-Heuer wrist-watch, and a Pierre Cardin tie got out and asked the shepherd, "If I can tell you how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?"

The shepherd looked at the young man, then looked at the large flock of grazing sheep and replied, "Okay."

The young man parked the car, pulled out his smartphone, and called up a NASA Website and let it identify his location via GPS. Then he opened a database and 60 excel tables filled with algorithms and pivot tables. After studying these for a moment he turned to the shepherd and said, "You have exactly 1,586 sheep."

The shepherd was surprised and confirmed, "That's correct, you can have your sheep."

The young man took an animal and put it in the back of his Porsche. 
The shephe…

Barry Cryer's ode to accounting software

This dates back to the 2007 Software Satisfaction Awards arranged by AccountingWeb.

Barry Cryer OBE was the guest speaker and he had prepared one of his customary very funny odes. This included the immortal lines:
I see before me, chattering, nattering,managers and also a smatteringof accountants and t'is a crying shamethat 99% of them get the other 1% a bad nameI now feel my S-A-P risingmy IRIS widening, it's not surprisingas these names resoundyou are Infor a penny, Infor a poundyour Kashflow with a "k"rolls on - and may I saybefore I become a fidgeterI salute OLAP-based Excel and DigitaOnward I paddle my rhyming coracledesperately seeking a rhyme for OracleEnough!! my system draws near to a crashtout suite, NetSuite, i must now dashto a close - cease my poetic spreadsheet analysislife is full of enormous fallaciesif you see what I mean - my program, with one "m"is done - my metrical practice, my hopefully funny function, I must stemmy flow, all's don…

A real beancounter....

With many thanks to Tony Nedderman in HK for passing this on to me.

Accountant's love of excel leads to a new video game

We all know that accountants love spreadsheets, but a Canadian Chartered Accountant, Cary Walkin, has taken this passion to a new level. He has created a basic video game using only Excel spreadsheets.

The game, called Arena.XIsm is a turn-based fantasy game in which you, the hero represented by a smiley face, fight various monsters in order to level up and survive.

Mr Walkin said it took about four months to create the game which has about 2,000 possible enemies, eight tough encounters with bosses and lots of different items players can gather to boost their fighting or defensive abilities.

You can download the game from Cary Walkin’s blog. It works on PC versions of Excel, including Excel 2007 and 2013, but not on Macs (shame).

IRS training video spoofs star trek

I hesitated to link to this here as the spoof is so bad.....

It starts:
"Space: the final frontier
These are the voyagers of the Starship Enterprise Y
Its never-ending mission is to seek out new tax forms
To explore strange new regulations
To boldly go where no government employee has gone before." The six-minute plot that follows is simple: The Enterprise must help the planet “No-tax” that is plagued with money laundering, tax evasion using off-planet accounts and alien identity theft – all due to a “lack of tax leaders.”

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now admits it was a mistake to spend $60,000 producing the video parodying the 1960s Star Trek television series, along with a second 'Gilligan’s Island' parody. The Star Trek segment was used to open a 2010 training and leadership conference.

Criticised for wasting taxpayers money when the video became public in 2013, the IRS issued a statement that reads:
"The space parody video from 2010 is not reflective …

Not how it was in my day.....

The next recipient of an #INABAaward is Mike Gordon

This is another (virtual) award of an INABA to an accountant who operates in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'.

INABA stands for 'I'm Not ABoring Accountant' - more on the awards here++++ 

Mike Gordon (sometimes known as 'Forensic Freddie') is a CIMA qualified forensic accountant with an all too obvious sense of humour.  It is evident to everyone who knows him and it helps rather than hinders his work.

In his own words:
My Accountancy career was boring … until I discovered Ancillary Relief. The effect was ... life changing.☺ Although sounding like an activity practiced by the oldest profession, I was relieved (excuse the double entendre!) to discover that my CIMA qualification and Irish genes seemed ideally suited to resolving issues of quantum and valuation – when seeking to deal with the equitable division of assets on divorce.  A career as a forensic accountant beckoned. That life changing event also involved marriage to Penny R…

When the 'Just a Minute' subject was 'Tax'

This is an extract from the transcript of the radio programme broadcast on 9 May 1989.

Nicholas Parsons: Wendy Richard to begin, the subject Wendy, tax. 

WR: There are various forms of tax, carpet, thumb, income and road. The latter I feel is a downright liberty to motorists. Have you seen the state of the highways and byways in London at this time? It's full of pitholes and potholes. It's an absolute disgrace! As for the first one... I've forgotten what I said the first time... 


NP: Lance Percival challenged. 

LP: Well she forgot what she said, so she paused. 

NP: She did indeed yes Lance. You have 40 seconds to tell us something about tax starting now. 

LP: The other tax not mentioned so far is VAT. And come 1992 I think you will find this will change quite a considerable amount. For instance we are all set at 15 percent in this country at the moment. But in that year I mentioned earlier you will find that things like food are taxed quite... 


NP: Wendy Richard challen…

The laughing Taxman - by Ronnie Barker

I found a reference to this song in the delightful Autobiography of The Two Ronnies "And it's goodnight from him..."

Written and sung by Ronnie Barker, it's clever, funny and worth listening to right through to the end. It's only a minute and half long.
Clearly inspired by The Laughing Policeman....

listen to ‘The Laughing Taxman’ on Audioboo

The next recipient of an #INABAaward is Paul Castle

This is another (virtual) award of an INABA to an accountant who operates in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'.

INABA stands for 'I'm Not ABoring Accountant' - more on the awards here++++ 

Paul was nominated by Kapil (Kaps) Kapur of Fingertips Intelligence. Having met Paul a couple of years ago, I would agree he has an unconventional attitude and approach. Once met, never forgotten!

Paul Castle has six staff in his practice 'Castle Heslop'  (Strapline: 'Innovative accountancy') which operates from offices in London and in Biggin Hill.

On learning of his nomination Paul emailed me to say:
"My career path was set early on in my life after visiting a careers advisory officer who identified I did not have the charisma to succeed as an undertaker.  Still I am pleased that unlike a solicitor I know I am boring.  So I am not sure why I have been considered for this award.   Perhaps it is because I like people, enjoy getting…

Accounting Rap video: Debits left, Credits right

Great video with some good advice for aspiring accountants. 
Congrats to @colindodds on producing this and thanks to @wilkins_Co for sharing it on twitter recently

And the #INABAaward goes to: A singing accountant

I announce the (virtual) award of INABAs to accountants who operate in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'.

INABA stands for 'I'm Not A Boring Accountant' - more on the awards here++++ 

Louise Herrington combines an unusual range of skills including that of being Professional Singer, Bookkeeper, Chartered Accountant specialising in systems and processes and a Videographer. Her practice name is 'Performance Accountancy' and she specialises in providing bookkeeping and accounting services to self-employed musicians and singers.

I first came across Louise when I was directed to her promotional video which I featured on this blog last week: Now that's what I call a singing accountant!

Louise tells me:
When people talk about me in a referral basis, I seem to get referred to as an accountant with a fun personality and who is not worried about clambering through trade vans trying to find receipts, clearing clients' filing that had no…

How to wind up an accountant...

Here's a random selection of contributions received from accountants a few years ago in response to the question:
What do clients say that winds you up?"I just popped everything in this carrier bag here - I knew you could sort it all out for me.""My friend's accountant says.....""I need a mortgage reference - you WILL make the figures look good for me won't you?""A friend in the pub said that he's certain that....""My van was broken into and........... all of my receipts were stolen""My son has been onto the HMRC web site and......." " I've already signed my tax return. Just fill in the details as usual" "If I've made that much money, where's it all gone" Answer: "You've spent it, sunshine""I've checked my tax return and it's wrong...the profit figure on the accounts isn't the same as the taxable profits figure on the tax return""It shoul…

New non chargeable codes for accountants timesheets

5316 Useless Meeting
5318 Trying to Sound Knowledgeable While in Meeting
5393 Covering for Incompetence of Colleague
5400 Trying to Explain things to new colleague who just doesn't get it
5482 Eating Snack
5490 Updating status on Facebook
5500 Filling Out Timesheet
5501 Inventing Timesheet Entries
5640 Miscellaneous Unproductive Complaining
6200 Using Company Resources for Personal Profit
6206 Gossiping
6207 Planning a Social Event (eg: holiday, wedding, etc.)
6211 Updating CV
6221 Pretending to Work While Boss Is Watching
6238 Miscellaneous Unproductive Fantasising
6350 Playing jokes on the New Guy/Girl
7281 Extended Visit to the Loo (at least 10 minutes)
8100 Reading online blogs
8102 Laughing while reading blogs

9106 Explaining to partner why we cannot bill all of the time on the clock
9107 Explaining to staff why we need to bill more than the time on the clock
9108 Negotiating fee with client before fee note sent out
9109 Writing covering letter/email to justify size of the fee note
9110 Responding …